Foundation Water Proofing

Foundation drainage issues are something we come across quite a lot on our landscape projects. The clay soils in the Tidewater area are terrible for water drainage. And in the past, home builders weren’t as careful about grading around houses as they should have been. In many cases, houses actually ended up acting as dams, blocking water from moving across the property and trapping it close to the house. Not a good situation to find yourself in!

For example, take this house in Williamsburg. The owners had asked H&G to create a more spacious landing at the front door, but a bit of poking around revealed larger issues that needed to be addressed. The efflorescence we came across on the concrete blocks in the partially buried garage was as sure sign of trouble (see arrows below). And the garage didn’t pass the sniff test. A musty odor in basements or crawl spaces is a sure sign of drainage problems.

The problem with this house was the steep front yard. To get a walkway to the front door, the original builders had to construct retaining walls and pile soil against the foundation of the house. In doing so, they made the grade outside the house higher than the grade inside the crawl space and garage. Concrete blocks by themselves don’t make an effective water barrier. Water doesn’t have too much trouble finding its way through the masonry joints as well as being absorbed by the blocks themselves. Without a sufficient drainage system in place, it was only a matter of time before damage started to occur.

Brick masons will tell you, with constant water exposure, concrete blocks will start to break down. So our new task became: how can we find a way to prevent major structural damage to the foundation? The walls had to be waterproofed. So we decided to excavate around the foundation and apply a sheet membrane in combination with drainage panels to provide a way for water to escape.

For residential waterproofing there a couple options to consider: liquid membranes and sheet membranes. Liquid membranes are sprayed or rolled on. While a liquid membrane is less expensive and easier to install than sheet membranes, it is not as forgiving if small cracks appear in the walls. And while liquid membranes might be good for small or hard to reach areas, they did not seem up to the task for this particular job.

Sheet membranes, the option we chose, are large, very sticky peel and stick sheets made from rubberized asphalt that are applied to the wall. And though I call them peel and stick, they are actually a heavy duty application that requires a bit of skill and practice to get them placed correctly. One benefit of sheet membranes is that they have some elasticity to them, so if small cracks do appear, it won’t affect the integrity of the membranes.

With either system, you need to install drainage panels for the best result. Drainage panes are dimpled boards that provide spaces for water to run down to a drain pipe at the bottom of the panels. They are installed next to the waterproof membrane, and soil is back-filled against them.

Luckily, the foundation under the front door was in fairly decent shape, and were able to cover it with the sheet membrane, but at the garage, we had to remove the existing damaged blocks and install a membrane on totally new wall. We also had to replace some of the framing damage caused by water being drawn up from the damp concrete blocks.

When the whole process was finished, the new retaining walls that Hertzler & George designed and constructed provided the clients with a much more gracious front entry. And the waterproofing and drainage system hidden below the landscaping will protect the house for years to come. That’s the advantage of choosing H&G for your landscape construction project. Other companies may simply have installed new landscaping and ignored the drainage issues, or they may have waterproofed the foundation but they wouldn’t have had an eye for designing an attractive landscape. Only Hertzler & George brings all the elements together for an truly outstanding project!

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Bed Transformation!

Once again I am very pleased with the excellent work H&G did on my property.  They turned a section of my ugly front yard with invasive Bermuda grass into a beautiful and simple flower bed with mulch and many small bushes.  This striking transformation adds greatly to the house’s curb appeal.  I look forward to them coming back out this fall and replacing the rest of the front yard with sod and removing all the undesirable Bermuda grass.  Brian was easy and pleasant to work and plan with.  He always responded to my questions immediately.  Jon and his crew were likewise very nice, efficient, and perfectionists in planting my new yard.  Many thanks and accolades to H&G once again!

Sandy Hall

So thankful to be a customer!

when i returned to williamsburg in 2022, it was a real challenge to find a company willing to take on “yet one more customer” – i was ignored and turned down by others… but hertzler and george came to my rescue and i could not be happier – wonderful staff, professional and so friendly, i completely trust them to service my yard!  merry christmas and happy new year to everyone and H&G!


Drainage Help

I would like to let you know how happy we are with the service we received recently.
We had a drainage issue in our yard and did some research, learned your company was highly recommended and decided to see what your company could do.
From the first contact, we had a great experience as the lady that answered the phone was very nice. She put us in contact with Brian Kemp who we also liked from the start, and we made an appt for him to come and take a look. He was right on time, very thorough, and just a very nice fella who we both liked right away and had confidence in. We really liked how he gave us options and listened to what we wanted. We scheduled the work, it was done right on time, and it looks great! Brian was even nice enough to do a video walk through for us afterwards as we weren’t in town. Just great service from start to finish! Thank you Brian

We will definitely be back with more projects in the future.

T.M. - Ford's Colony

Thank You

Just a short note to thank you for all the help you gave us with our garden this year. Jonathon again did a wonderful job doing the bed detailing this summer, as did the mulching crew in the spring. I don’t know the name of the woman who supervised the mulching crew, but I want to let you know how professional she was. In fact, the entire crew was pleasant to work with, especially to experience the care that they took with their work.

Thanks also for being so flexible with the changes we requested for our mowing schedule.

E.L. - Ford's Colony

Always Helpful

Brian came out last week to try to assess a problem we are having in our yard.  He arrived on time, was extremely courteous and took a considerable amount of time analyzing our situation.  While he was unable to reach a solution, he did take the time to research and recommend another business that might be able to help us.  That kind of customer service will make us more likely to call on Hertzler & George if other issues arise.  Thanks, Brian!